The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) announces the opening of Sankofa Carnival, a temporary, digital art-focused experience showcasing the work of TMA’s inaugural Digital Artists in Residency program. Sankofa Carnival will feature never- before-seen work created by TMA’s 2023 artists in residence Osinachi and Yusuf Lateef as four drops of collectible digital art. The experience will be open to visitors from December 1 through December 31, 2023, and will culminate in the auction of Osinachi and Yusuf’s original 1 of 1 digital artworks through the Christie’s digital art sale taking place during Miami Art Week 2023.
TMA Labs, born out of TMA’s commitment to utilizing technology to engage communities locally and globally, expands the reach of TMA’s longstanding mission of integrating art into the lives of Toledo’s residents. TMA Labs and the Digital Artist Residency follows TMA’s decades-long success in the world of traditional art and marks its first foray into digital art and NFTs. TMA’s Digital Artist Residency program is kindly sponsored by Buckeye Cable and Block Communications, Inc. and Richard and Denise Arnos. Sankofa Carnival, more of an experience than an exhibition, will feature 5 digital works created by Osinachi, from Nigeria, and Yusuf Lateef, from Toledo, who partnered and mentored each other during their tenures as digital artists in residence at TMA.
Known as Africa’s foremost digital artist, Osinachi’s art not only reflects his own identity and experiences but also a acts as a statement: establishing his existence as a form of protest of the stereotypes and prejudices that often plague the African continent and diaspora. His work features vibrant figures on colorful backgrounds with subtly moving pieces in the background. Three new and original works by Osinachi, The Mba Assembly, The Picklers, and ABITT: THE SECOND RENAISSANCE IS COMING, will be showcased within Sankofa Carnival. Toledo-based artist, teacher, and community organizer Yusuf Lateef routinely explores the spiritual implications of creation through his work and is fascinated by the way that art can be used as a community-building tool. Often using found materials, Lateef’s work uses vivid colors and layers to create abstract portraits. Lateef’s latest works, Orpheo’s Symphony and Eurydice will be on display at Sankofa Carnival.
- Series One: Titled The Mba Assembly and launching on December 1, the first series consists of 10,000 works for TMA visitors to collect for free upon visiting the museum.
- Series Two: Titled Orpheo’s Symphony and launching on December 23, the second series is a 1,000-count, limited set created by Yusuf Lateef.
- Series Three: Titled The Picklers and launching on December 30, the third series will consist of 100 works made individually by Osinachi created on the Ethereum blockchain.
- Series Four: Available for bidding from December 5 through December 12, ABITT: THE SECOND RENAISSANCE IS COMING and Eurydice are both rare 1 of 1 digitally native artworks created by Osinachi and Yusuf respectively.
Alongside the art, a museum-wide scavenger hunt will be open to visitors to encourage physical engagement with the digital works. The word Sankofa, from the Twi language of Ghana meaning to retrieve, is used when one continues to move forward, a concept the artists and museum felt appropriate as both parties explore this new world of digital art. Meant to bring people together, Sankofa Carnival will act as a tribute to the global desire for positive change, and the joy and community that is achieved at Carnival celebrations around the world. Developed by Osinachi and Lateef and inspired by their experiences in Toledo, one as a visitor and one as a permanent resident, the pieces shown in Sankofa Carnival are meant to celebrate the people of Toledo and welcome viewers into the communities that the artists have forged during their time in the city.
This contemporary focus on digital art is inspired by TMA’s desire to assume an innovative role in exhibition design and generative art spaces, bringing a focus to artistic works and practices that adopt the use of digital technology as part of the creative process. TMA’s Digital Artist in Residence Program enables artists from around the globe to hone their craft and focus on creation while being afforded access to the museum’s resource hub, TMA Labs. In addition to inviting international artists to participate in the Digital Artist in Residence Program, TMA is also fiercely committed to inviting local artists to engage with the museum’s platform. The museum plans to host speaker series, digital art-related networking events, and expand the Artists in Residence program at TMA Labs.
Sankofa Carnival will be open to the public at the Toledo Museum of Art from December 1 through December 31. Bidding will open for ABITT and Eurydice through Christie’s from December 5 through December 12, and the works will be on display at Gateway Miami from December 6 through December 8.